To Fast Well, Understand Hunger

I’ve spent about two-thirds of the Lents of the last few decades either pregnant or nursing. In other words, holding a get-out-of-fasting-free card. But since my late 40s just rolled around, I’m pretty sure I’m not going to draw that card again. Which is why I had to face the truth last Lent that I’m … Read more

Does “Climate Change” Cause Hunger?

Though I was born on a farm, I was raised in small-town Iowa. Thus, I was never a farmer, though my grandfathers were. Several of my aunts, uncles, and cousins formed farming families. I remember seeing, due to mechanization, the size of farms that one family could handle pass in size from a quarter-section, to … Read more

Hunger Is Not What You Think It Is

The first and perhaps most interesting thing about hunger in America is that the US government no longer measures it. Many years ago, the feds stopped measuring hunger because experts could not agree on who might qualify and very likely the number who qualified was vanishingly small. The US Department of Agriculture went to the … Read more

The ‘Hunger’ Hoax

Twenty years ago, hysteria swept through the media over “hunger in America.” Dan Rather opened a CBS Evening News broadcast in 1991 declaring, “one in eight American children is going hungry tonight.” Newsweek, the Associated Press and the Boston Globe repeated this statistic, and many others joined the media chorus, with or without that unsubstantiated … Read more

Disappointed by Truth

The ugly little secret of life, one I hesitate to share with students, is how disappointing all of it is. Indeed, if the reader is under 30, I’m tempted to tell him to click on some other column — lest I drain from him the sparks of life and energy that are meant to keep … Read more

Persons Not Pets

When you see a homeless man with a sign saying, “Hungry, need a meal,” what is the biblical thing to do? Here are possible answers: Be generous: Give him a quarter, a dollar, or a five-dollar bill. Be tough: Go on by, being careful not to make eye contact. Select some other option. Lots of … Read more

Why do people go hungry?

Given that Mark Shea’s column this morning is on feeding the hungry, this latest video from the Population Research Institute — exploding the myth that overpopulation is behind world hunger — is pretty timely. PRI’s POP 101 series is great — informative, well-produced, and starring the most adorable starving stick figures ever: Be sure to … Read more

On Beauty: A Message to Its Religious Despisers

What did Fyodor Dostoevsky mean in The Idiot when one of his characters asserts, “Beauty will save the world”? Taken at face value, it’s a claim that beauty plays a role in the salvation of us all. There are quite a few Christians, of all denominations, who would respond to that claim with suspicion, if … Read more

Lilies that Fester: Spiritualized Envy

If you haven’t read The Screwtape Letters, you should. In fact, click over there right now and buy it. C. S. Lewis’s harrowing look inside of the mind of a “designated tempter” (he’s just like a guardian angel, except . . . the opposite) isn’t just insightful entertainment; it’s more like reading an intercepted copy … Read more

Solzhenitsyn: Icon of Patience

When somebody says “poetic justice,” what that really means is the kind of justice dished out by poets. In which case, you’d better hope the poet’s a person like Dante or T. S. Eliot, and not some maniac like Marinetti (who wanted to burn Italy’s libraries and museums, then start culture from scratch), or a … Read more

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

Sane people never ask, “Did Michaelangelo cause the statue of David, or was it his chisel? Did Shakespeare cause Hamlet, or was it his pen? Choose!” But for some reason, when the subject turns to evolution, many fundamentalists, both atheist and Christian, completely forget that a thing can have primary and secondary causes. Instead, they … Read more

Who Art in Heaven

Our Father is not, according to Jesus, merely our Father. He is our Father “who art in heaven.” What does that mean?   Getting at the answer to that in our present culture is harder than you’d think, not least because heaven, says C. S. Lewis, is an acquired taste. There are moments, he writes, … Read more

Blessed Are Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Mt 5:6).   The goods of this world, though they remain good, can be deceptive when you are a member of a fallen race. In certain moods of rude good health and the flush of adolescent insolence, it is all too … Read more

Anybody Need a Used Laetare Medal?

As years go, 2009 so far hasn’t been one for the ages. Our economic crisis continues to worsen (my 401ks have tanked so badly I’m thinking of putting what’s left of my retirement money into Chinese armament futures), while our government’s response consists of borrowing money to fund bankruptcy as usual. In Iowa, gay marriage … Read more

Catholic and Apostolic

If all the converts who entered the Catholic Church were to tell about their road to Rome, it would probably appear that no two of them followed exactly the same route. It does not surprise us, having accepted the claim of the Church to be the “pillar and ground of truth,” that as many roads … Read more

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